30 Orange Grove Road, down Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore 258352
Mailing Address: 1 Goldhill Plaza, #03-35, Singapore 308899
Email: email@example.com; Website: http://www.truelifebpc.org.sg
(Ring Pastor Jeffrey Khoo 62561189 Anytime)
|“The LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep SILENCE before him.”|
Rev. Robert Kluttz, is fondly called “Grandpa Bob” by us the Lagapa children and “Kuruutsu sensei” by his students. He was a soldier of the American army stationed in Japan during WWII. It was in Japan that the salvation light shone into his heart and it would be the place he would return to endure the hardest battle that he is still fighting today—holding forth the light of the gospel in the dark country of Japan.
Grandpa Bob was saved on April 6, 1947 in the “Land of the Rising Sun”. The salvation call was soon accompanied by the call to lifelong missions in Japan. The call came through the instant charge of General MacArthur for 10,000 missionaries and 10 million Bibles in Japan. With a heart most sincere to help, he echoed Isaiah’s words saying, “Here am I; send me.” If he was to be a missionary, he needed training, and underwent four years of training and one year of grad school in the then fundamental Bob Jones University.
When he returned to Japan in 1953, he was supported by a “big-name” missions society. This society was expelled from China in 1949 by the Communists. Although he was under this society with promising terms and conditions, he cut ties with it after two years as he found that its conditions were not as favourable when it came to the actual practice in the field. He even described them as ‘abominable.’ So on his own initiative and God’s leading, he laid the groundwork of missions in northern Hokkaido.
God, through His divine providence, gave Rev. Kluttz his helpmeet in the form of a citizen in the mission field assigned to him. It is amazing to note that he found a Christian lady in the midst of a country steep in idolatry. According to God’s perfect timetable, she was provided for the assistance of the work laid in front of him. Through her, God led them to the northern-central part of Hokkaido—Asahikawa (formerly known as Asahigawa). Now as a couple, they did the work of the Lord together. They ‘pioneer-evangelized’ (open-air, door-to-door, town-to-town, village-to-village, person-to-person) for 2½ years. God blessed them with their first child and they went back to the USA to raise support.
It was their pitiful experience not to have brethren join them in support of their work of the Lord. But through this, God opened the door wider for them to minister when they returned to Hokkaido, now with an additional three children. He was providentially introduced by Mr. Yoichi Ritaichi to Hokudai University where he was offered to teach English which he did for 25 years. This opportunity allowed him to work for his own survival and at the same time reach out to his Japanese students. God truly always has His more perfect way.
Rev. Kluttz does not view difficulties as something to struggle with but only as ‘impediments’ that slow us down or make us stop to think and pray and seek the Lord’s Way—a more perfect way than ours. His faith stems firmly in the Lord and he casts all cares on the One Who has called him. He does not see the ministry as something that is to be dealt with in his own hands. He entrusts to the Lord his concerns linguistically and spiritually. Interestingly, he finds the Japanese culture not so hard to deal with as ‘they are very nice!’ What troubles his heart is the idolatry, pride, apathy and indifference to the truth of the gospel. His pain also is caused by those who had before confessed Christ and baptized but are now gone back into the world. However, he takes comfort in those few who stand firm and are faithful even till now. Indeed, it is better to have few who are truly God’s sheep than a multitude of goats.
The missionary heart of Rev. Kluttz still yearns to see the salvation of lost souls in Japan and he will never give up on them as he desires for them to ‘follow Christ ALONE, by trusting in His PRECIOUS BLOOD ALONE, according to THE WORD OF GOD ALONE.’
TRIP TO HOKKAIDO
“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renenewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1–5) I read this Psalm for my quiet time while in Japan and thought it was very applicable to what had happened lately.
Praise God for allowing Pastor, Aunty Jemima, May Lynn, my family and me to visit Japan. God was good to us throughout the whole trip and even before that. Aunty Jemima found free tickets to Sapporo in the newspaper and immediately saw it as an opportunity for us all to see Pastor Robert Kluttz or Grandpa Bob (as my siblings and I fondly call him); so we struck while the iron was hot and got the tickets.
While that went on, we were worried about my father’s employment pass, which was soon to expire (1 July 2018). The passes that the rest in the family had were dependent on my father’s; so if his expires, ours would too. To cut the long story short, after two rejected applications for my father’s pass to be extended, it was approved after the third time by God’s omnipotent hand. We were actually planning who was going to go to Japan and who was going to stay behind in Singapore to pack everything up to go back to the Philippines, but God wanted us all to go, and He made sure of it.
We also had to apply for a visa for the trip, and we had a hard time deciding when to do it because to do so, the embassy would have to keep our passports and we still needed to go overseas for missions and church camp. We could only do it after all that, giving us only a few days before the trip to get the whole thing done. Thank God for a smooth process, and how this was also for free.
Another blessing was getting to stay at an Airbnb house free of charge. We were notified that the Japanese government required all Airbnb hosts to be registered; so all bookings of unregistered houses were cancelled. Because of that, we were completely refunded and given a voucher which we could use to book another apartment, meaning there was no need for us to pay a cent. God is so good!
The main highlight and purpose of the trip was meeting Grandpa Bob again. Just being able to see him is a blessing for which I will ever be grateful. Although weaker at 92 years of age and fighting three types of cancer, he remained the same—amiable, passionate, and witty. The times we spent with him were so precious and by far my most favorite moments from the trip. The hours were mostly spent just listening to him talk, but I didn’t mind at all. In fact, I could sit at his feet and listen to him all day. He would often look deep into my eyes with his light green ones and tell me things like how I should obey and love my parents and how I should know God’s will and do it. It reminded me of the times when I was younger when he would place me on his lap and tell me stories. I miss him now.
Grandpa Bob could cycle more than walk, but he took the time to see us and even showed us around the Hokkaido University. He went out of his way to get us maps, treated us for a meal, and even sent us off at the train station on the last day even when it was raining. I thank God for faithful men like him who still serve the Lord even when others see it as a time to retire. As he talked about his life, how he wasted 20 years to the devil and how God called him to be a missionary, made me resolute even more to serve the Lord now and not waste my time.
Thank God for journey mercies. We rented a van to take us from Sapporo to Abashiri to visit brother Tadahito’s (an FEBC student) church. Along the way we would stop to see some tourist attractions. In one of these stops, we were reverse parking and backed straight into a sturdy wooden sign, and the entire rear windshield broke into tiny shards. Thank God none of us were injured in any way. The police came to record the accident and a car serviceman came to cover the gaping hole with a plastic sheet. Thank God this thin plastic sheet survived the whole driving trip (3 days of travelling). Thank God also that the damage was covered by insurance.
One of the major encouragements was meeting Japanese believers. We dropped by the Abashiri church and all of them welcomed us warmly the moment we stepped inside. There were just three families, but they were all so close and knitted together. Their hospitality shone through as they cared for us while we were there.
My sister was given the privilege to teach the children while Pastor spoke to the adults. It was hard for my sister at first to recollect her Japanese, but as she interacted with the kids, it all slowly came back to her. It was a joy to get to know them as May Lynn and I assisted in the children’s program, and they made it very hard to leave. The Abashiri brethren stood outside the church to see us off, and the children waved and shouted goodbye until we drove away.
On Sunday, we were able to meet more Christians as we gathered in a humble shed for a simple worship service. I gained much from Grandpa Bob as he spoke and asked us questions so that we might learn even more. There were only a handful of us, but we sang with much gusto and had pleasant fellowship like no other. I was spiritually refreshed that day. We went on to visit a Christian couple (Mr. and Mrs. Suzuki) in the afternoon at their house, and we had a mini prayer meeting and sharing session where we all shared our salvation testimonies and life verses. It was a privilege to be able to encourage them especially when they struggled with issues like depression and the lack of people coming to their house-church.
It was a trip full of spiritual and physical blessings. Food in Japan went beyond our expectations and the beautiful sceneries around us made it feel like we were in storybooks. And of course, seeing Grandpa Bob made it most special and memorable. To God be the glory.
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